Uniting police and public in very dis-united urban areas is a major part of my safety advocacy. A brief glimpse over the hotly debated cause of rioting after officers shoot Black male subjects is the latest reason why I work to unite brothers who sow safety with counterparts wearing badges.
90% of active NOPD officers are members of the Crescent City Lodge of the Fratetnal Order of Police. Crescent City Lodge members are also enrolled in the FOP Legal Defense Plan. The Legal Defense Plan provides its members with legal protection in criminal, administrative, and civil matters. Administrative matters are most common.
I was a member of the NOPD from 1993 to 2008. I graduated from law school in 2004. Also in 2004, the Crescent City Lodge was in a rebuilding phase which would lead to it becoming the largest representative organization for officers of the New Orleans Police Department. Being an officer, FOP member, and recent law school graduate, I was approached by Lt. Henry Dean, who was president at the time, and Sgt Jimmy Gallagher about the legal services offered to members. We discussed creating a position called Employee Representative which would be both an arm of the legal plan and a way to address other employment issues experienced by members that wouldn’t be part of the legal plan. The FOP was, and still is, dedicated to providing its members with the best possible legal defense benefit. In 2008, I began representing officers full time. That was nearly 10 years ago. All of that is to say that my experience with the NOPD, NOPD Policies and Procedures, Civil Service, appeals, and the FOP work to the advantage of Crescent City Lodge members.
The disciplinary system is part of the job that officers don’t interact with regularly. For that reason, it is beneficial to have a resource available to guide members through that process. The Legal Plan attorneys provide that service to our members.
Here are some basic guidelines;
- Nothing is too unimportant to call.
- We (the attorneys) are not too busy to talk to you about minor investigations.
- You should call about negotiated settlements – you could still be eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option.
- Don’t resign.
- If someone is talking to you about resigning because of an alleged disciplinary infraction, you should be represented. You should probably call if anyone is telling you to resign for any reason.
- Once you resign, you lose any legal protection you may have had through Civil Service.
- You should call if you did what you are accused of. You are eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option only if you are represented by an FOP attorney during the course of the investigation (calling two months after you pick up the disciplinary letter is insufficient).
- You should call even if you are being interviewed “just as a witness.” Witnesses can become accused officers too.
- You should call if you get an email from Civil Service about the Department’s request for an extension of time.
- You should call if you have any questions about when you should call.
The FOP Legal Defense Plan is designed to provide FOP members with the best possible representation when you need it. However, we don’t know you need it until you call. Also, calling after you have resigned does not leave you with any real, viable options.
The Fraternal Order of Police will be having two classroom training dates to help members of the NOPD prepare for the December 20, 2017 Sergeants Exam Assessment Center.
On December 9 and December 16, 2016, NOPD Commander Louie Dabdoub will be teaching his successful assessment center methodology on behalf of the FOP.
The December 9 class will be held at the NOPD Academy and will begin at 3:00 pm.
The December 16 class will be held at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, located at 5914 Canal Blvd. and will begin at 3:00 pm.
It is likely that both of these classes will last several hours.
Since the assessment center is just a few weeks ago, we decided to post a video of the introductory lecture here for officers to review. Download the two-page method steps here. You will need it.
Feel free to watch these videos as many times as you need. At the classroom sessions, Commander Dabdoub will apply these steps to actual scenarios and give feedback on answers given by the class.
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
The Thanksgiving season is upon us which leads to the biggest giving season of the year, Christmas. The FOP hopes that you will consider contributing to the FOP Family Fund.
The New Orleans FOP Family Fund is a function of the Louisiana FOP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. The FOP Family Fund is mainly funded by donations made by active and retired NOPD employees through payroll/pension deduction. The FOP Family Fund also accepts donations from private citizens and businesses wishing to support law enforcement.
WHAT THE FOP FAMILY FUND DOES
The FOP Family Fund assists police officers who are facing severe financial difficulty because of an on-the-job injury or personal tragedy.
It is an unfortunate reality of police work that officers get injured on a regular basis. Injuries occur when officers are in car crashes, when perpetrators resist arrest, or a myriad of other ways. When these work-related injuries result in officers being out of work, their income becomes suddenly dependent on workers compensation law. Workers compensation law entitles an officer to 2/3 of his or her salary for temporary disability benefits. The maximum amount changes each year in September. For the period of September, 2017 through September, 2018, the maximum benefit is $653/wk. That represents approximately 5 hours of an officer’s 8 hour day. The officer’s remaining salary must be made up by using sick leave, if available. Overtime and police detail income are never figured into workers’ compensation, and that portion of salary is simply lost to the officer.
In addition to helping FOP members injured in the line of duty, the FOP Family Fund makes immediate assistance available to the families of NOPD officers killed in the line of duty.
Officers are the victims of natural disasters just like everyone else, from time to time, and when that happens, the FOP Family Fund stands ready to help. As an example, the FOP Family Fund (through the National FOP Foundation) provided over $1,000,000 in financial assistance to law enforcement officers throughout the State following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In August, 2016, a dangerous tornado touched down in New Orleans and there was destructive flooding in southeast Louisiana. Several of our members suffered significant losses as a result of the tornadoes and flooding. The FOP Family Fund was able to provide assistance to those members, some of whom had lost their homes.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
The FOP Family Fund cannot survive without donations from our members and members of the public. Officers who are interested in donating to the FOP Family Fund, even if it is just $1 per pay period, can do so by visiting the NOPD Payroll office to sign up for payroll deduction. Anyone else who would like to make a tax deductible donation to the FOP Family Fund can mail a check to the FOP Family Fund, P. O. Box 24154, New Orleans, LA 70184.
The FOP Family Fund pays no administrative fees from direct contributions. Every penny of every donation goes to assist our local law enforcement officers..
Our federal tax ID number is 20-3484575.
As some of you may have seen in the past week, Antigravity Magazine recently published a story (Get Behind the Mask, February 2017) disparaging the Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcement generally. Most importantly, author Jules Bentley leveled a serious allegation directed at a fictitious NOPD officer in her feature.
While I in no way wish to legitimize this fringe publication, it is troubling to consider that this writer is also a frequent contributor to Gambit Weekly. The FOP takes seriously the growing number of platforms in which conspiracy theorists spread nonsense and outright falsehoods that damage our relationship with the communities we serve. In such instances I make no distinction between legitimate media and this gratis alternative rag – if it has a circulation, the editorial board has a responsibility to fact-check. If they refuse to fact-check, the FOP will step in to rebuke such openly false claims.
Bentley’s incoherent stream-of-consciousness story makes little sense as it weaves between Nazis, police, and untruthful allegations of police misconduct during recent anti-Trump protests; the relevant excerpt can be found in the initial message of the email chain pasted below.
As always, the Fraternal Order of Police, New Orleans, remains vigilant in protecting our members (both real and fictional) and our profession from outright lies and we believe our duty to do so applies especially when such allegations are made in a public forum. While the exchange is humorous, keep in mind that at least some number of readers of this magazine believe this is journalism and the claims to be factual.
To: Jules Bentley and Editorial Board, Antigravity Magazine (February 9, 2017)
From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
First of all, happy New Years to all who happen by this blog. 2016 is behind us and that is probably a good thing. 2017 will present some new challenges for law enforcement and the Fraternal Order of Police will be there for its members. I would like to extend my usual invitation to any FOP members who would like to advocate on behalf of themselves and other law enforcement officers. The FOP is an organization run by its members on behalf of its members. If you want to be involved, all you have to do is let someone know.
The FOP Legal Defense Plan continues to be the best legal plan available to law enforcement officers. In 2016, there were some significant changes made to the NOPD disciplinary system. While these changes were effective in May, 2016, the impact wasn’t felt until late in the year. In 2017, we will feel the full brunt of these changes and I believe the end result will be more suspensions and more Civil Service appeals. There could be instances where you would expect a letter of reprimand which may end up being a 30-day suspension.
Late in 2016, I heard more than once “I can’t believe the FOP agreed to these changes (to the disciplinary system).” The fact is that the FOP did not agree to these changes. We were given an opportunity to comment on the new disciplinary policy. I was the only one to submit comments. I submitted several several pages of comments. The next time I saw the policy, it was in its current form. Several of our comments were put into the new policy, but there were plenty of comments that were disregarded. That was the extent of the input into the current disciplinary policy. So, what we now have is a system which makes it much easier for a violation to be a second or third offense. In addition, one of the procedural safeguards which existed previously was changed. Like I said – more suspensions and more appeals. Please don’t hesitate to call if you are the accused or a witness in a disciplinary investigation. You may think the allegation is minor or whatever, and it may be. But, will it can never hurt to call your FOP attorney. No case is too nsignificsnt.
In 2016, I represented 398 individual police officers in some fashion. I represented officers in:
- 228 statements or interviews
- 76 Bureau Chief or Commander’s Disciplinary Hearings
- 7 Pre-Disposition Conferences (new policy)
- 36 Accident Review Board Hearings
- 51 appearances before the Civil Service Commission
- 23 Civil Service appeal hearings
Livaccari Law also helped numerous officers with automobile accidents, both on-duty and off. We also created wills, living wills, and power of attorney for FOP members and handled several successions. While Livaccari Law does not practice family law, the FOP has a good family law benefit and I was able to direct a number of officers in the right direction to get the assistance they needed.
Some public safety watchers greet the January 3rd, 2017 return of the ” Targeted Marigny, ” to the New Orleans Police Department’s 5th District with alarm and skepticism.
Currently in the French Quarter-focused 8th District, its robust violent crime statistics, critics say, will now be added to the 5th Districts loaded ledger. Less suspicious, but equally concerned, observers wonder about active complaints and investigations which may soon land in limbo. They join skeptics in asking, is moving the ” Targeted Marigny ” to the incident-rich 5th District a move in the right direction?
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, RLSH. Creator,#CapBlackStreetPatrol. *Walking escorts* *Victim advocacy* Last but never least, police support
In spite of the near constant media coverage of officer involved shootings, they are so rare that most officers have no idea what is going to happen when they find themselves in those situations. As of October 1, 2016, there has only been one officer involved shooting in New Orleans. I am hoping this trend of not having officer involved shootings continues. If, however, an officer is involved in an officer involved shooting, he or she should know what to expect. For the most part, this article is particularly about New Orleans, but there are bound to be similarities to other jurisdictions.
First of all, I recommend that once it is safe to do so that you call your FOP attorney. I have been on the scene of almost every officer involved shooting in the past several years, and I will continue to respond in an officer’s time of need.
Every officer involved in an officer involved shooting is the subject of a criminal investigation. There could also be an administrative investigation, depending on the circumstances.
It is most important that an officer make sure a scene is safe, or as safe as possible, following an officer involved shooting. Make sure enough backup has been requested and the proper notifications have been made. If the scene is not safe, take cover or do whatever is necessary to make the scene as safe as possible. Make sure emergency medical services have been ordered for anyone injured and the scene is safe enough for EMS to respond.
Once enough officers have arrived to secure the scene, any officers involved in actually firing a weapon will be sequestered. That means that if you are the officer who had to pull the trigger, you will be removed from active participation in the scene and put in an area by yourself. That usually means sitting in a car by yourself in a safe location.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you are aware of your body-worn camera. It should be turned off as soon as you are removed from active participation in the scene. You also need supervisory approval to turn off the camera. So, as soon as you are sequestered, ask a supervisor for permission to turn off the body-worn camera. Also, be aware of what you say when the camera is running. While you certainly want to tell other responding officers of any imminent danger or about evidence which might be lost or damaged, you do not want to discuss how the shooting came to be at this point in time. I have witnessed well-meaning rank asking officers “what happened” while the camera was recording. It just isn’t in anyone’s best interest to answer that question on video in the middle of a stressful situation before all of the information is available.
It is my experience that I usually get to a scene shortly after an officer has been sequestered. I have gotten there before cameras were turned off though and you certainly don’t want to have privileged conversations with your attorney being recorded on a body-worn camera. Same thing for dash camera.
One of the first things to do is call your family members and let them know you are safe. There will undoubtedly be some type of media coverage and you don’t want your loved ones worrying about your safety.
After being involved in an officer involved shooting, you generally have to do three things:
- Give a public safety statement;
- Walthrough; and
- Complete a Force Statement
The public safety statement will take place shortly after the officer is sequestered. The short interview will be conducted by the PIB Force Investigation Team (FIT). There will likely be a a number of other people present, but only one will ask questions. The questions are limited to issues which have the potential for impacting the safety of police personnel or the public and information about evidence.
For example, a public safety statement could include the questions
- “How many perpetrators were there?”
- “Where did the other perpetrator run?”
- “Did the other perpetrator have a weapon?”
- “What was the other perpetrator’s description?”
- “Where should there be shell casings?”
The public safety statement generally takes less than 5 minutes.
PIB will take your body-worn camera and the Academy will take the weapon used. If they take your service weapon, they will issue you a loaner.
You will also be expected to do a “walk-through” of the incident. It is a strange thing and I’m not quite sure what the purpose is. You will be be required to walk through the events leading to the shooting without any verbal narrative. You won’t be asked any questions or expected to say anything. I guess I have seen this lead to information relative to the location of shell casings and the preservation of evidence.
You are also required to complete a Force Statement. I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of the Force Statement here, but I have found that the time sitting around sequestered is generally a good time to get the Force Statement written. It gives you an opportunity to write it and discuss with your attorney prior to submitting the Force Statement.
The Force Statement is an administrative document only. It is not shared with the criminal investigators. It is important to be accurate and thorough with the Force Statement.
Generally, that is about it. Officers who are involved in a fatal officer involved shooting will likely be placed on administrative reassignment and sent home. You get to spend an ample amount of time by yourself. This isn’t always the best thing as it leaves you to replay the events in your mind while wondering what is going on around you.
It is good to have your FOP attorney with you for a number of reasons. It is important to get the necessary information conveyed and to make sure your rights are protected. It is also helpful to have someone who can tell you who everyone is and what they are doing.
I hope it doesn’t happen to you. But, if it does, I will be available for you.